HD tools help domestic violence charges stick in Maricopa Co. - CBS 5 - KPHO

HD tools help domestic violence charges stick in Maricopa Co.

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High-definition cameras are making it easier to see and document injuries to domestic abuse victims. High-definition cameras are making it easier to see and document injuries to domestic abuse victims.
Karyn Rasile, a forensic nurse, demonstrates how accurate and detailed the new cameras are. Karyn Rasile, a forensic nurse, demonstrates how accurate and detailed the new cameras are.
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

A new tool is being used by Maricopa County forensic nurses that makes collecting evidence on domestic violence injuries a whole lot easier.

Scottsdale Healthcare purchased high-definition cameras that are being used at five Maricopa County Advocacy Centers throughout the Valley. They can document bruises and other injuries in strangulation domestic abuse cases, but they can also be used in other crimes as well.

The program started as a test in December of last year, and lasted about six months. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said it was so successful, as of June 2012, using the cameras to collect pictures of injuries is now protocol in all exams.

"Prior to introducing a new strangulation protocol, we were only able to charge a class 4 strangulation case in about 15 percent of the submittals. We've increased that to 60 percent," explained Montgomery.

Forensic nurse Karyn Rasile works at the Scottsdale Advocacy Center. She said the new cameras make documenting sometimes hard-to-see injuries, such as strangulation bruises or cuts, a whole lot easier.

"Injuries may be found behind the ear. They may be found around the mouth, under the nose, under the chin, on the roof or the palate of the mouth or inside the eyes," she said.

"We document it. We measure it. We draw it and we take a photo of it," continued Rasile.

Rasile points out that the new HD cameras are just one piece of the puzzle. She said training is also very important, as are the detectives and officers that process a domestic violence scene and the prosecutors that work the cases in court.

"The best way to understand it is what occurs in this room with our nurses is a single piece of a puzzle. It's very good piece and it's a very important piece, but it's not the entire package."

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